Cricket World Cup 2019: Sarfaraz Ahmed expects good reception for Steve Smith and David Warner when Pakistan face Australia
Aaron Finch, meanwhile, hopes the holders don't become the latest World Cup team to be derailed by the rain
Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed has said he is confident that his team's fans will not jeer Australia batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner when the two sides clash at the Cricket World Cup on Wednesday.
Pakistan fans are expected to make up a large chunk of the crowd and there are fears they might follow the example of the India supporters who jeered Smith at The Oval on Sunday.
"I don't think Pakistani people will do that," Sarfaraz told reporters on Tuesday. "Pakistani people love cricket, they love to support and they love the players."
A large number of Indian fans chanted "cheater" at Smith, who is back in action following a year-long ball for his role in the ball-tampering scandal that rocked Australia during their tour of South Africa in 2018.
India captain Virat Kohli gestured in an effort to quiet the crowd and later apologised to Smith.
Meanwhile, Sarfaraz vowed Pakistan will put their 5-0 whitewash by Australia in March behind them.
"I think that thing is gone, it's past," said Sarfaraz of the series in which he and six other top players were rested by Pakistan.
"We're not thinking about that. Actually we are thinking about tomorrow's game. So our morale is very high and we will do our best."
Pakistan were left frustrated after their match against Sri Lanka was washed out at Bristol on Friday, leaving them to share a point.
Before that, Pakistan had brought their campaign back on track with a surprise 14-run win against tournament favourites England, after a poor defeat at the hands of the West Indies.
With bad weather forecast for Taunton on Wednesday, Sarfaraz said his team are ready for a shortened match.
"Firstly, we can't control the weather. It's same for both teams. But if the match is short, definitely the planning is a change one," he said.
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Australia captain Aaron Finch also had the weather on his mind and said he hopes the holders don't become the latest World Cup team to be derailed by the rain.
Finch conceded luck with the weather could play a role in who makes the semi-finals from the 10-team group stage.
"I think it might play a huge part in the next few days," Finch said. "Next week it starts fine and looks good across the country for the remainder of the tournament.
"So it's important that you get early wins on the board because you don't want to be on the wrong end of a couple of washouts that might leave you just outside that top four."
Australia failed to qualify for the semi-finals of the 2017 Champions Trophy in England following their rained-off matches against New Zealand and Bangladesh before they lost to England on D/L method.
If the match does get underway, Finch expects unpredictable Pakistan to provide a stern test.
"I think Pakistan are obviously a very dangerous side," Finch said of Pakistan, who have only won one of their last 14 matches against Australia.
"We've seen consistently throughout, especially ICC tournaments, that they win a lot of games and they get themselves in a position to win the tournament.
"They had a great Champions Trophy. So regardless of what kind of form Pakistan go in with, they're always incredibly dangerous."
Published: June 11, 2019 08:36 PM